The Ministry of Manpower released its 4th Quarter labour statistics yesterday, having the total employment expanded for the fifth consecutive quarter, and unemployment rates remained low, below pre-pandemic levels.
The statistics also noted that the number of retrenchments rose from previous quarters’ lows, and remained comparable to pre-pandemic levels.
For the whole of 2022, the labour market improved significantly compared to 2021, said MOM.
However, not for all, it would seem.
According to the released data, the gross median income of full-time employed residents as craftsmen & related trades workers such as plumbers has decreased from S$2,819 to S$2,662 from June 2021 to June 2022
This works out to a decrease of 5.6 per cent for the year, and since inflation was 6.7 per cent in the same period — in real terms, their income decreased by 12.3 per cent in the one year.
Going back even further, their income had increased from S$1,885 in 2001 to S$2,662 in 2022.
This works out to an increase of 41.2 per cent, in the last 21 years.
Since inflation was 44.6 per cent as the Consumer Price Index (CPI) grew from 75.19 to 108.7 in the same period — Therefore, in real terms, their income decreased by about 0.1 per cent per annum in the last 21 years.
Female plant & machine operators & assemblers also had their gross income decrease from S$2,112 to S$2,000 from the period of June 2021 to June 2022.
If we factor in inflation, the income suffered a real decrease of 12.0 per cent.
As for female non-PMETs, the gross median income of full-time employed residents stagnated at S$2,535 from the period of June 2021 to June 2022.
In real terms, their income decreased by 6.7 per cent in the one year, and increased by only about 0.5 per cent p.a., in the last 21 years, from S$1,570 in June 2001 to S$2,535 in June 2022.
Australian plumber earns a median annual of AUS$96,460 and SG S$36,000
Most of Singapore’s blue-collar workers are paid well below the median wage, which is not the case in most other developed countries.
TOC earlier reported a comment by an anonymous netizen on social media SGWhispers last Friday (27 January), claiming that he has better earnings after migrating to Australia rather than staying in Singapore.
The netizen stated that he is currently an Australian in his 30s. Before this, he was a Singaporean who graduated from the Institute of Technical Education (ITE) — commonly scorned by Singapore parents as “It’s The End”.
But he said everyone in Singapore seemed to “looked down at him”, and he was only paid S$1.6k a month when he started working as an ITE graduate, ” and was told I “deserve” that pay as I am from ITE.”
“Packed my bags, left for Aussie and am now a plumber. I earn more than 100k here, even after paying my taxes, I am easily earning 80k, ” the netizen claimed, possibly referring to earning per annum, which means he might earn above $6,000 per month.
“What kinda ITE grad, in sg, doing hands work like plumbing, can earn 80k after taxes. Moreover, I am not a boss of a plumbing company. Just a simple plumber. ”
He further advised that people who work on their hands work like in nursing, construction, and plumbing “all should leave sg”.
He believed that a Singapore plumber’s salary would only increase from S$1.6k to S$1.8k “because in SG, always will have cheaper labour across the causeway mah. ”
According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics, median Australian employee earnings were AUS$1,250 per week, up AUS$50 (4.2%) since August 2021.
While median weekly earnings for electricity, gas, water and waste services — what a plumber would be earning — is said to be AUS$1,855 per week since August 2022, up from AUS$1,730 or a sum of AUS$96,460 a year (52 weeks).
A plumber would be classified under the craftsmen & related trades in Singapore.
While Channel News Asia reports a regular plumber’s average salary being about S$3,000, the data from the latest MOM figures would suggest a lower figure.
Even after tax, an average plumber in Australia would earn more than two times what a plumber would get in Singapore, not to mention the worker in Singapore gets lesser in cash due to CPF contributions.
Furthermore, the worker in Australia is entitled to state benefits such as free healthcare, whereas the worker in Singapore merely gets subsidised healthcare.
Former GIC economist Yeoh Lam Keong previously commented on the matter of minimum wage in Singapore, “This is because we have had uncontrolled excessive immigration for so long and in such quantity for the two decades ending around 2010 that our lowest decile wages are far below the living wage and those of comparable developed economies,”